The first written mention of Zelwa comes from 1258 in connection with the campaign of duke Danił Halicki (Данілa Галіцкі) against duke Wojszałko (Войшалка).[1.1] The next mention of Zelwa appears in 1443 when the Grand Duke Casimir I Jagiellończyk had built an Eastern Orthodox church in the town. This date, however, was not confirmed by archeologists. The town was officially established in 1470, when Michał Nacewicz (Міхаіл Нацавіч) established a Catholic church in the Wielka Zelwa village. In 1477, a church was built in the Mała Zelwa estate, owned by Ivan Hinejtawicz (Іван Гінейтавіч). In 1503, Grand Duke Aleksander gave the Mała Zelwa estate to the Troki castellan and Żmudź governor, Stanisław Janowicz Keżhajl (Станіслав Янавіч Кежгайл). The following villages comprised part of the estate: Bełczawicze (Белчавічы), Kaszalewicze (Кашалевічы), Żerdnaja (Жэрдная), Woronicze (Варонічы), Kaniuchewicze (Канюхевічы), Rohoznica (Рагозніца), and Agniaszewicze (Агняшэвічы). In the first part of the 16th century, the owners of the Zelwa estate had changed constantly, and they included: Iwan Wiśniwewski (Іван Вішнеўскі), Jurij Ilinicz (Юры Іллініч), Iwan Zabarezinski (Іван Забярэзінскі), and Mikołaj Zanołewicz (Мікалай Зяноўевіч). In 1550-1560s, the Mała Zelwa estate belonged to Stanisław Komorowski (Станіслаў Камароўскі), and Wielka Zelwa – to Iwan Glebowicz (Ян Глябовіч). In 1568, Jurij Ilinicz donated Wiellka Zelwa (after which the town became known simply as Zelwa) to Mikołaj Krzysztof Radziwił Sirotka (Мікалай Крыштаф Радзівіл Сіротка), who, in turn, gave the estate to Jazerski (Язерскi) in 1581. In the first half of the 17th century, the Sapieha family, namely Lew Sapieha (Леў Сапега), had owned Zelwa. Already in 1616, the inhabitants of Zelwa had paid taxes to the chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – at that time it was Lew Sapieha. From 1655, Zelwa belonged to the Polubiński dukes, and in 1686-1831 – to the Sapieha clan.[1.2] In 1616, Zelwa comprised of a market square and three streets: Dworna (Дворная), Miażerycka (Мяжэрыцкая) and Wołkowyska (Ваўкавыская).[1.3] In the course of the town’s development, the street network had also changed. In 1633, two new streets appeared – Kuśnierska (Кушнерская) and Kościelna (Касцельная).[1.4] In 1785, Cerkiewna (Царкоўная) Street was created.[1.5] And, in the registry of 1815, street names included: “over the pasture,” “behind the pasture,” “behind the cargo hold and store,”[1.6] Based on the inventory of 1830 and 1835, the town consisted of a market square and 10 streets. In the census of 1897, three new streets appeared: Malinowa (Малінавая), Dworcowa (Вакзальная) and Ogrodowa (Агародная).[1.7] In 1616, there were 68 utilized plots of land, inhabited by 103 families (most of whom occupied only half of the areaa).[1.1.3] In 1633, the number of households had doubled to 110, and the number of families increased to 125.[1.8] Those two inventories list 17 restaurants, two mills, a brewery, and a forge in Zelwa. In 1690, there were 90 manors.[1.9] Based on the privilege given by the King of Poland August II Strong, Antoni Kazimierz Sapieha (Антоні Казімір Сапега) – Zelwa’s owner – had organized an annual fair that took place from 25 July to 25 August. The fair brought 3,000-4,000 merchants a year from Belarusian areas, the Baltic states, Poland, Ukraine, Prussia, and Russia.[1.10] According to an author of Commercial Newspaper, the market fairs held in the latter part of the 19th century had attracted merchants from faraway countries and earned second place in Eastern Europe after Lipsk. The development of the bazaar occurred in the first half of the 19th century, becoming the largest on the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and was famous mainly for the sale of horses.[1.11] In 1749, Gabriel Szmidt (Габрыель Шмідт) had built the Piarist monastery headquarters in Zelwa. The monks were responsible for the upkeep of the school. They taught Latin, rhetoric and poetics, as well as other subjects. In 1790, the Piarists were expelled by the tribunal decree, and shortly their school was closed. [1.12] After the Third Partition of Poland, Zelwa was incorporated into the Russian Empire. At the end of the 18th century, there were 147 households in the town, and in 1809 – 143. A registry of 1815 lists the existence of a synagogue, two hospitals (which belonged to the Catholic church and the Jewish community), a school and library by the church, and a Jewish religious school in Zelwa.[1.13] In 1829, there were 161 households in Zelwa and 1,103 inhabitants, including: 276 Christians (159 men and 117 women) and 827 Jews (452 men and 375 women). In 1831, the Russian authorities confiscated the Zelwa estate from the Sapieha family for their participation in the 1830-1831 uprising. From that moment Zelwa became state property. In 1832, there were 175 households. In 1857, the number increased to 240, and the population size was 1,950 people. According to the first census of 1897, there were 2,802 inhabitants in Zelwa (1,441 women and 1,361 men), but in reality 2,852 people (1,404 men and 1,448 women) had lived there. The inhabitants were divided according to class: peasants – 891 (470 men and 421 women), and non-peasant origin (mainly townsmen) – 1,823 (842 men and 981 women). During the 19th century, the town’s population size increased 2 ½ times, with Jews constituting the majority.[1.14] The town’s inhabitants were occupied with farming, craftsmanship, and commerce. The census of 1897 allows for establishing the occupational structure of the town’s population. Jews dominated as artisans. Tailoring and shoemaking were the most developed artisan areas. Jews also held positions at the state post office, and managed inns and stores.[1.1.10] The following enterprises offered industrial potential in Zelwa at the end of the 19th century: a “factory of wheel lubricators,” glass manufacture, candle workshop, honey processing plant, wineries, breweries, and Aaron Lewiński’s (Арона Лявінскага) tannery. In 1881, Zelwa had 40 stores, 20 drinking rooms, eight inns, a winery, tannery, two honey production plants, two breweries, and a post office.[1.15] At the beginning of the 19th century, there was a Catholic school and a few Jewish religious schools, as well as a library by the church. In 1860, two state schools, separate for males and females, opened in Zelwa; Christian children from the villages and the town had attended it. A municipal school was opened in 1904 for middle class Jewish children.[1.1.10] In the 1890s, work began on the Baranowicze – Białystok railway line, which passed near Zelwa. The railroad was opened in 1886 and it became an important factor in the town’s economic development. After World War I and the Russo-Polish War, Zelwa comprised part of Poland and became the center of the municipality in the Wolkowysk county in the Białystok voivodeship. At that time, the town numbered 5,282 inhabitants; among them: 2,578 Belarusians, 1,156 Poles, and 1,344 Jews. In 1927, the Polish authorities granted the town city status, which was canceled in 1931. A Jewish school and Polish public schools existed then.[1.16] There was also a medical clinic, which was financed by the Wolkowysk voivodeship government. On 20 September 1939, a hospital opened in Zelwa.[1.1.10] As a result of World War II and the entrance of the Red Army into western Belarus in September 1939, Zelwa became part of the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR). On 15 January 1940, the locality received the status of a city and became the center of the Baranowicze district. From 1 July 1941 to 12 July 1944, Zelwa went through a tragic period of German-Fascist occupation. At that tome, 6,049 died in the Zelwa area. On 20 September 1944, Zelwa again became the center of the region in the Grodno district in the BSSR.[1.17] In 1971, there were 4,300 inhabitants in Zelwa; in 1996 – 8,300; and in 2009 – 7,200. Zelwa holds city status till this day.[1.1.10]

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Footnotes
  • [1.1] Èrmalovič M., Staražytnaâ Belaruc': Polacki i Novagarodski peryâdy. Mn., 1990. (Ермаловіч М., Старажытная Беларусь: Полацкі і Новагародскі перыяды. – Мн., 1990.)
  • [1.2] Èncyklapedyâ gistoryi Belarusi: U 6 t. T. 3 / Belarus. Èncykl.: Redkal G.P. Paškoŭ [i inš.]. – Minsk: BelÈn, 2006. – S. 455 (Энцыклапедыя гісторыі Беларусі: У 6 т. Т.3 / Беларус. Энцыкл.: Рэдкал Г. П. Пашкоў [і інш.]. – Мінск: БелЭн, 2006. – С. 455)
  • [1.3] Addzel rukapisaŭ Bibliâtèki Vilenskaga dzâržaŭnaga universitèta. Fond 4. Adzinka zahavannâ 34386. Inventar Zèl'vy 1616 g. (Аддзел рукапісаў Бібліятэкі Віленскага дзяржаўнага універсітэта. Фонд 4. Адзінка захавання 34386. Інвентар Зэльвы 1616 г.)
  • [1.4] Addzel rukapisaŭ Bibliâtèki Vilenskaga dzâržaŭnaga universitèta. Fond 4. Adzinka zahavannâ 34367. Inventar Zèl'vy 1633 g. (Аддзел рукапісаў Бібліятэкі Віленскага дзяржаўнага універсітэта. Фонд 4. – Адзінка захавання 34367. Інвентар Зэльвы 1633 г.)
  • [1.5] Addzel rukapisaŭ Bibliâtèki Vilenskaga dzâržaŭnaga universitèta. Fond 4. Adzinka zahavannâ 34385. Inventar Zèl'vy 1785 g. (Аддзел рукапісаў Бібліятэкі Віленскага дзяржаўнага універсітэта. Фонд 4. – Адзінка захавання 34385. Інвентар Зэльвы 1785 г.)
  • [1.6] Addzel rukapisaŭ Bibliâtèki Vilenskaga dzâržaŭnaga universitèta. Fond 4. Adzinka zahavannâ 34391. Inventar Zèl'vy 1815 g. (Аддзел рукапісаў Бібліятэкі Віленскага дзяржаўнага універсітэта. Фонд 4. – Адзінка захавання 34391. Інвентар Зэльвы 1815 г.)
  • [1.7] Toc', S.M. Nasel'nictva mâstečka Zèl'va ŭ materyâlah perapisu 1897 g. / S.M. Tokc' // Slavuty zèl'venski kraj / D.S Alâškevič [i inš.]. – Lida, 2004. – S. 147-151. (Тоць, С. М. Насельніцтва мястэчка Зэльва ў матэрыялах перапісу 1897 г. / С.М. Токць // Славуты зэльвенскі край / Д.С. Аляшкевіч [і інш.] – Ліда, 2004. – С. 147-151.)
  • [1.1.3] Addzel rukapisaŭ Bibliâtèki Vilenskaga dzâržaŭnaga universitèta. Fond 4. Adzinka zahavannâ 34386. Inventar Zèl'vy 1616 g. (Аддзел рукапісаў Бібліятэкі Віленскага дзяржаўнага універсітэта. Фонд 4. Адзінка захавання 34386. Інвентар Зэльвы 1616 г.)
  • [1.8] Addzel rukapisaŭ Bibliâtèki Vilenskaga dzâržaŭnaga universitèta. Fond 4. Adzinka zahavannâ 34367. Inventar Zèl'vy 1633 g. (Аддзел рукапісаў Бібліятэкі Віленскага дзяржаўнага універсітэта. Фонд 4. Адзінка захавання 34367. Інвентар Зэльвы 1633 г.)
  • [1.9] Èncyklapedyâ gistoryi Belarusi: U 6 t. T. 3 / Belarus. Èncykl.: Redkal G.P. Paškoŭ [i inš.]. – Minsk: BelÈn, 2006. – S. 455 (Энцыклапедыя гісторыі беларусі: У 6 т. Т.3 / Беларус. Энцыкл.: Рэдкал Г. П. Пашкоў [і інш.]. – Мінск: БелЭн, 2006. – С. 455)
  • [1.10] Ibid.
  • [1.11] 2. Еврейская энциклопедия: свод знаний о еврействе и его культуре в прошлом и настоящем. – Т. 7. – СПб, 1905. – С. 112
  • [1.12] Słownik geograficzny Królewstwa Polskiego. – T. XIV. – Warszawa, 1895. – C. 566 - 567.
  • [1.13] Sačok, M.M. Gistoryâ Zèl'vy ŭ arhiŭnyh dakumentah (XIX – pač. XX stst.) / M.M. Sačok // Slavuty zèl'venski kraj / D.S Alâškevič [i inš.]. – Lida, 2004. – S. 152-158. (Сачок, М.М. Гісторыя Зэльвы ў архіўных дакументах (XIX - пач. ХХ ст.) / М.М. Сачок // Славуты зэльвенскі край / Д.С. Аляшкевіч [і інш.] – Ліда, 2004. – С. 152-158.)
  • [1.14] Sorkina, I.V. Mâstečki Zèl'vy i dzârečyn u XIX st. u svâtle arhiŭnyh zvestak / I.V. Sorkina// Slavuty zèl'venski kraj / D.S Alâškevič [i inš.]. – Lida, 2004. – S. 87-97. (Соркіна, І.В. Мястэчкі Зэльва і дзярэчын у ХІХ ст. у святле архіўных звестак / І.В. Соркіна// Славуты зэльвенскі край / Д.С. Аляшкевіч [і інш.] – Ліда, 2004. – С. 87-97.)
  • [1.1.10] [a] [b] [c] [d] Ibid.
  • [1.15] Sačok, M.M. Gistoryâ Zèl'vy ŭ arhiŭnyh dakumentah (XIX – pač. XX stst.) / M.M. Sačok // Slavuty zèl'venski kraj / D.S Alâškevič [i inš.]. – Lida, 2004. – S. 152-158. (Сачок, М.М. Гісторыя Зэльвы ў архіўных дакументах(XIX - пач. ХХ стст.) / М.М. Сачок // Славуты зэльвенскі край / Д.С. Аляшкевіч [і інш.] – Ліда, 2004. – С. 152-158)
  • [1.16] Vajceščyk, G.S Z gistoryi mâstečka Zèl'va (20-30-e gg. XX st.) / G.S. Vajceščyk/ / Šlah u navuku / redkal.: N.A. Ivaščanka [i inš.]. – Grodna, 2011. – S. 152-157. (Вайцешчык, Г.С. З гісторыі мястэчка Зэльвы (20 – 30-е гг. ХХ ст.) / Г.С. Вайцешчык // Шлях у навуку / рэдкал.: Н.А. Івашчанка [і інш.]. – Гродна, 2011. – С. 152-157.)
  • [1.17] Èncyklapedyâ gistoryi Belarusi: U 6 t. T. 3 / Belarus. Èncykl.: Redkal G.P. Paškoŭ [i inš.]. – Minsk: BelÈn, 2006. – S. 456 (Энцыклапедыя гісторыі Беларусі: У 6 т. Т.3 / Беларус. Энцыкл.: Рэдкал Г. П. Пашкоў [і інш.]. – Мінск: БелЭн, 2006. – С. 456)